Diamine Shimmering Purple Pazzazz Ink Review

I have fallen hopelessly in love with shimmer inks. To heck with pen maintenance and clogged feeds with hail size pieces of gold, this stuff makes my writing come off the page. Ok not a single non-pen person has said anything about it when looking at the output but I’ve enjoyed the surprises when it dries on some paper as the gold flake can really pop out.

My favorite has been the Diamine Shimmer Cocoa so I decided my next bottle would be from the same family in the Purple Pazzazz variant. I was not disappointed with the behavior and output of the ink.

Diamine Shimmering Purple Pazzazz

  • Price: $20 for 50 ml or $.40 per ml
  • Color Family: Purple
  • Bottle opening Diameter: 5/8” which is more than sufficient for dipping any nib that I tried
  • Pen I Used: Carolina Pen Company Charleston with a steel broad nib

Bottle
Glass, round and plain with a deep profile for making it easy to get the most ink out of the bottle. Nothing really to save here or display worthy. All the money went into the ink which is fine with me. Fine with me.

Sheen & Shading
The signature of shimmer inks is the sheen and Purple Pazzazz does not disappoint. Best seen on the Col-R-Ring sample here.

I was using a wet broad nib so maybe not a characteristic of the ink but it goes on really wet so you won’t see the true character of what you’ve written until it dries. I kind of liked the surprise factor.

Conclusion
I love the ink and though I can’t consistently replicate the extreme gold sheen at will I smile when it happens. I have gone through 3 refills already. Oh and ink spiders are fun as well:

Writing Samples

Remember: Write something nice……

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Free Nibmeister Work Giveaway Winner

Thank you ALL for responding to the giveaway contest. It was fun reading what readers are using and want to use even more.

RANDOM.ORG has spoken and the timing for

Jenny in Austin

Was perfect as you came in as the 26th comment. Congratulations and I’m sure Mark will be performing nib magic on your TWSBI 1.1 Stub if that is what you choose.  I have dispatched an email to the address you registered here on the blog. If you did not receive it send me a note at bob@mypenneedsink.com .

The first winner will have 5 days from the date of the notification email to contact Mark and start the easy process of sending your pen in. If we don’t hear from the first winner in 5 days we’ll go back to Random.org and pick a new winner.

Thank you Mark Bacas @nibgrinder for teaming up with me and thank you all for reading and playing along.

Remember: Write something nice……

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Are you ready for a Nibmeister?

I have done a post like this before and I think this is a topic valuable enough to repeat, especially for pen enthusiasts who are new to the fountain pen sector. The first fountain pen I ever bought was a disaster nib, I could not understand why anyone would want to write with a dull nail that smeared ink and was attached to the end of a major brand name pen that I paid a lot of money for, at least at the time I thought it was a lot of money for a pen. I should have done more research and not shelved it away in shame. I just needed to be introduced to a nibmeister.

A nibmeister is an affectionate term given to some talented individuals in our community that don magnifying optics on their head and work magic with our fountain pen nibs behind a small grinding wheel. Watching them work makes me nervous but I so enjoy the output. There are a variety of pen problems they can help you identify and fix if you tell them what you’re experiencing. Common issues include baby’s bottom, slow starts, skips, scratchy, too wet, too dry, and even repairs from drop damage or other accidents. Most of these nib magicians can also change the shape of the nib into one of the many variations of specialty nibs that make writing more fun and infuse more character in your writing style. Stub, Italic, Architects, these are commonly referred to as grinds as usually they entail grinding away some of the metals from the existing nib.

Granted not all pens need nib work or the services of a nibmeister but unfortunately some fountain pen brands are known for inconsistent nib quality out of the box. It can be a difficult balance for the pen maker. The time and labor required to tune every nib that leaves a manufacturer’s shop floor would raise the cost of the pen to all of us. NOT tuning the nib results in sometimes delivering a less than optimal writing experience that could sour the reputation for a brand in the eyes of the unlucky recipient. Some pen enthusiasts are confident enough to do some nib tuning on their own, I commend them. For others a nibmeister is a great option if you’re really in love with a pen for all the other reasons but it just doesn’t write well.

Mark Bacas is one such talented nibmeister that our community is fortunate to have. I have sent Mark many of my pens that possessed some bad writing characteristics and all of them have come back the first time as almost a completely new pen.

Mark was kind enough to share his story with me and I’m excited to team up with him for a cool giveaway so read on!

Mark has been interested in pens for most of his life and he admits he may be guilty of absconding some fountains pens that his dad brought home when Mark was a young boy. It took a visit to The Great Southeastern Show, that later became The Atlanta Pen Show, where Mark’s eyes were opened up to the world of fountain pens. Mark’s collection grew and like many of us he began having nibs refined and custom ground. A process that fascinated him. An active member of the Southeastern Pen Club Mark and Mike Masuyama became friends and Mike suggested he give the whole nib work thing a try. Mark gives credit and praise to Mike and Jim Rouse, of Franklin-Christoph as his mentors and accomplished nibmeisters that have help many pen enthusiasts over the years.

Around the 2015 Atlanta Pen Show Mark began acquiring tools and building his knowledge to really make a go at nib work. He’s getting busier and busier with work as more people find his talent valuable. A unique bonus that Mark offers with every pen he works on is a
video of him writing with the customer’s pen to give them a sense of how it performs after the nib work. His prices are reasonable and his turnaround time back to me has been less than 3 weeks.

Here’s Mark at the Atlanta pen show working his inky fingers off.

Mark Bacas Hard At Work

Here is his tool of the trade that requires a really steady hand.

Marks Magic Wand

NOW THE GIVEAWAY

Mark has been very gracious to team up with me and offer a free nib tune or grind to one lucky readers. Just leave a comment here with what pen you would like to have tuned and why.

At 8:00 pm est on Tuesday June 27th, 2017 I will use Random.org to draw a winner. The winner will have 5 days to contact Mark and myself to start the process and shipping their pen off to Mark. The only cost for the winner is shipping the pen to Mark. Mark and I will cover the nib work and the return shipping.

Even if you’re not the lucky winner I still encourage you to go to Mark’s website, review his services and have him do some work for you. I’m confident you’ll be delighted.

Thanks Mark for everything you do for our community, for me personally you have truly made my writing and my collection more enjoyable.

Good luck to all and I look forward to reading your plans!

Remember: Write something nice……

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Robert Oster Fire & Ice Ink Review

Inks From Atlanta Tour Part 3. I am way late to the game on this one, the Robert Oster Fire & Ice. This is the first Robert Oster ink I have tried and it did not disappoint. I bought the first bottle I saw Friday when I arrived at the show as I mistakenly assumed supply and demand was not working in the buyers’ favor. By Saturday night it was still selling all over the place so looks like supply has caught up.

  • Price: $16 / 50 ml or $.32 per ml
  • Color Family: Blue
  • Bottle opening Diameter: 11/16”
  • Pen I Used: Kanilea Pen Co Kilauea with a Broad nib

Bottle

Robert Oster uses a small diameter bottle to hold 50 ml of ink. I would describe the container as utilitarian. Labeling is simple and clear and credit should be given to the Robert Oster camp for saving us money by not investing in more elaborate packaging. My preference is a bottle that is a little bigger in diameter for stability when I’m filling a pen with a stiff converter. My hands tend to make the pen jump around a little more than it should. Without a wide base there is more risk of an inky mess from a toppling bottle. That is in no way a reflection of the quality of the ink or the packaging, just a preference. The good part of this style is you can draw more ink out of the bottle without having to resort to syringe extraction for the last remnants.

Sheen & Shading

The blue is bright and vibrant. A strong color family resemblance to blue is an easy ID. Some have considered it a turquoise but I think it’s a bit darker than a traditional
turquoise.

Shading is prominent with my broad nib giving consistent gradual shading from dark to light, on some paper you get no defined color cut off points in the ink line. I like this gradual shading because the sharp cut off of color sometimes looks like a pen is running out of ink, again a lot of personal preference there.

Speaking of running out of the ink here is a shot of my pen running dry unintentionally but I was pretty surprised at the second tone sheen looks red in person. I never saw that coming. With a full fill I see nothing but blue.

I have several other blue inks that I like but you are probably better served with the two excellent ink side by side tools here than any comparison I could provide.

Conclusion
I’m sure there will be more Robert Oster ink in my future. I like how it performs, the color is beautiful and I can sound really cool when I tell people I only use ink that is imported from Australia. Seriously though, good ink and I’m glad I picked up a bottle.

Writing Samples

Remember: Write something nice……

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Akkerman 28 Hofkwartier Groen Ink Review

Part 2 of the Inks From Atlanta tour I’m embarking on. This one is the Akkerman 28 Hofkwartier Groen that I’ve heard many positive reviews about. Number 28 is my first bottle of Akkermann ink and I still have it inked up from the Atlanta pen show enjoying it.

I added the bottle opening diameter because some smaller bottles will not allow certain large pens to get a full fill because the nib and section will not fit inside the bottle. That wouldn’t rule out the ink but it would force you to a syringe type fill into another container. No problem here at all with the 1″ + opening of the Akkerman bottle.

Bottle

The Akkermann bottle is beautiful, another one almost like an antiquity or art that really should be appreciated sitting out on a shelf or a desk. I need to study up on the ink exposure risk to lighting over the long haul or is it a myth that it’s harmful.

Akkerman uses a rubber washer for sealing which serves its purpose very well but I found that it sticks to the lip of the bottle and removal usually results in inky fingers. It would be less messy if it stayed with the cap which I think is the design intent. In my practice it just didn’t work.

The bottle is the type where you turn the sealed bottle upside down which fills a reservoir at the top of the bottle so your nib can go deep enough for a fill. This helps you get the nib deep enough to fill when the ink supply gets low and shallow in the bottle. Without this second reservoir some bottles are hard to fill from without resorting to a syringe to extract the last bit of ink. The Akkermann implementation of this dual chamber works great.

Sheen & Shading

The green is light and bright. You won’t mistake it for any other color. I don’t see any other tone or color coming out of it even with the big Col-o-Ring swab I brushed on. There are several good tools online to compare the color side by side.

The only other green I have is my favorite Diamine Delamere green which is much darker.

Conclusion

This is a saturated but light colored ink. I will keep it even though my personal favorite green will lean more towards the darker tones. The properties of the ink gave me no problems at all and I wouldn’t hesitate to buy another bottle of Akkerman.

Writing Samples

Remember: Write something nice……

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Diamine Cocoa Shimmer Ink Review

Readers of my little space in the blogoshpere probably don’t come here for ink reviews.  My few ink reviews are few words. I like this ink, I don’t like this ink is about the extent of it. I know there are many more properties to an ink that are important to a lot of people and I have some really esteemed colleagues that write about them and give a lot back to our community in that area. I’m publicly thanking you Inkdependence :). Today I’m typing out one of those short ink posts as I begin working on reviews of some of the treasures I picked up at the Atlanta Pen Show.

I have been intrigued throughout the past year with some of the boutique multi colored inks that sheen and shine different colors or shimmers of gold. The most talked about was probably J. Herbin’s 1670 Emerald of Chivor, though I learned researching for this post that they have a whole line in that series including Rouge Hematite, Bleu Ocean, Stormy Grey and Caroube de Chypre that sit alongside Emerald of Chivor.

I like all the J. Herbin inks I have tried but I seem to have an affinity for Diamine inks, mainly because of their color selection. I’ve never had a bad experience with ink, or at least any that could be attributed specifically to the ink.  After trying at least one bottle of all the major brands, and yes I paid $32 for Edelstein Smoky Quartz (uuugggh!), my staple inks will probably remain Diamine.

Diamine jumped into the game with their shimmer inks a little while back with what they call their shimmertastic colors. Being the Diamine fan and not being able to find a bottle of Emerald Chivor at the show I picked up a bottle of  Diamine Cocoa Shimmer from the Andersons. The Cocoa is a brownish burgundy with prominent flakes of gold showing through. There is some feedback online that says the gold flakes could cause a bit more gunking problems with the pen feeds but I didn’t find proof in any review so I’m not sure if that is speculation or if there is evidence of it happening. I have not experienced that yet but I’ve only been a user for a couple of weeks now and I’m a well disciplined pen hygienist so I’m not too worried.

First thing I noticed is all the gold flakes resting at the bottom of the bottle:

I have read about this and yielded to the tip of shaking the bottle well to disperse the flakes throughout the ink so some of it gets into the pen.  I suspect these heavier flakes would be some of the basis for the gunking concern since they are particles that have a tendency to separate themselves from the liquid part of the ink.  I’m watching it closely in my pen.

Here’s the bottom of the bottle after shaken and dispersed:

I inked up my Ryan Krusac Legend with a full fill and I’ve enjoyed seeing the gold show through on almost anything I write on.  This is not a big shading ink despite the wide wet nib I was using but the character REALLY comes out with the gold flakes and especially when you move the paper around to let the light hit it differently. I also did not experience any more feathering or bleed through than normal. Overall a well behaved ink that gives me something more than just a new color shade. I’m enjoying it. Here are the samples I did:

For my next purchase I may try J.Herbin’s entry with the Purple Pizzazz. I’m a deep bright purple ink kind of guy so that one intrigues me. Until then I need to write more and enjoy all this ink.

What about you?  Any shimmering, glittery inks in your collection?

Remember: Write something nice……

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Atlanta Pen Show Haul Mini Reviews

I had a great show in Atlanta this year and though I didn’t really have a budget to spend going in I did have a well thought out list of things to see. I saw most of them and changed my mind on quite a few. They just didn’t speak to me and I don’t buy stuff for the sake of ownership and checking off a list. In the end I am happy with my haul.

My social acumen was better this year. I know a lot of people talk about this phenomenon, or borderline fear, but I have never had one bad experience interacting with other pen people at shows. Granted not every conversation takes off into an all night gab fast but we’re all different. I’m hoping I continue to mature in this area with the more shows I’m able to attend. This year I met some new friends and connected with others I only get to see in person at pen shows.  I was very fortunate to score a late Saturday spot for nib work by the great Mark Bacas @nibgrinder.  He does incredible work and I have a better writer because of it. Thanks Mark as always.  My only regret from the whole show is missing my good friend @gentlemenstationer. We were even in the same room together, how do we do this GS?. The loss was mine.

Below is my haul from a couple of hours on Friday and a full day on Saturday. I missed Sunday due to travel home but my wallet protested when I tried to delay departure and sneak one more round of the show floor in.  I plan to do full reviews of a some of these new treasures in the future but until then here are my first impressions:

Franklin-Christoph Notebook Covers – Starting at the top left I picked up two fabric notebook holders from Franklin Christoph. Always love their stuff and these are a nice break for me from my usual leather products. I got the pocket notebook cover and an A5 journal cover, both in Linen Brown Fabric. Also got a set of the pocket notebooks and the A5 notebook itself has a nice cover that might be a shame to cover up.

Robert Oster Fire & Ice – This is my first Robert Oster ink and I had a bit of FOMO when I saw a bottle of it. I like the blue hue and with the broad nib on the right paper the ICE portion does pop out.

Akkermann # 28 Green Ink – I have a green ink l really like but Brad and Mike talk about #28 so much that I had to try it.   This does rank as the prettiest ink bottle I have ever seen though. I so much want to put it on display.

Pelikan Edelstein Smoky Quartz – Late last year I sold my one partial bottle of brown ink, Caran D’ Ache Grand Canyon.  I loved the color but the small bottle made it such a pain to refill the larger size pens that I prefer.  I never replaced it so I set out at this show to get another brown ink. The Pelikan Edelstein Smoky Quartz landed in show bag. In hindsight I think I was more enamored with it’s status as ink of the year and there was probably something else that would have worked for less money.  Lesson learned but it’s still a very nice color and well behaved ink.

Diamine Cocoa Shimmer – I have a lot of Diamine ink and the brand has never disappointed me so I had to get their version of the glittery en-sparkled ink.  Andersons Pens had a good selection and I landed on the Cocoa Shimmer. It needs the right paper to really see it’s shimmer but when you do it’s really something. I have read different reports on what this glittery stuff will do to your pen but I will watch it closely and flush soon just in case.

Col-O-Ring – I have tracked my ink samples on index cards for several years now. I always knew the big box stores’ index cards would not perfectly depict the ink color but it has worked for comparing two similar shades.  The Col-O-Ring is a bunch of small very fountain pen friendly cards held together with a ring. I’ve only been back from Atlanta for a couple of days and I have had a lot of fun opening up all my inks and spilling big blotches on Ana’s creation. Ana Reichert of Well Appointed Desk may not have invented the idea but she did perfect it with her version.

Story Supply Pocket Notebooks – I love love love what Vito and Gabe are doing with their company, giving back to kids. Read about their goals here.  I’m always on the hunt for new pocket notebooks with fountain pen friendly paper. My quick test filling up a page says these are a home run.

Nock Co Dot Dash cards – I originally bought some of the Dot Dash index size cards to really support Nock. With the pack sitting on my desk I found myself using them for more and more little tasks until now I’m hooked on them.  I got a refill of the 3 x 5 size and picked up the new business card petite size.  I plan to use the business card size for making notes to put in the boxes of stuff I buy that shows when, where and how much for the item.

Ryan Krusac Legend #16 Fountain Pen – I wanted an all wood pen and I got a beautiful all wood pen. Ryan’s a cool guy, a talented artist and was a joy to talk with and deal with. He has several models in a variety of wood species. I liked the 16 mm diameter version of his new Legend series.  He has a slightly smaller 14 mm diameter model as well.

Kanilea Pen Company – In a short couple of years Hugh and Carol have really made an impact on the custom pen market and our community.  Their designs, company focus, packaging, conversational exchanges and everything about them carries a Hawaiian vibe.  This was a purchase I was on the fence on, for me the price of entry was stiff for an unknown brand, again, unknown to me. I read many positive reviews on their product and everyone said go see it in person.  I went to see them as my first stop when I got to the show on Friday. Hoping for the best  selection.  I can confirm the best photography cannot prepare you for what you experience in person. Within 30 seconds I fell off the aforementioned fence and knew I was going home with one. The harder part was picking which one.  Especially as they sold two others while I was standing there!  The model that took me awhile to decide on was the Kilauea.  It’s a stunning orange, grey and red swirls. Everyone I have show in to loves it and by mid Saturday all the Kilaueas they brought had been sold. I scored!

Carolina Pen Company – The now famous Jonathon Brooks @brooks_803 creates some of the most beautiful and creative use of color in resin pen blanks available today. So much so that several other custom pen manufacturers use the blank resins that Jonathon makes. He is also a very accomplished pen maker himself. I got a Charleston model fountain pen in a beautiful off-white color with some grey swirls and gold specks that you can see when you spin the pen. A very interesting finish. Jonathon also gets credit for the best line at the whole show “I own lots of women’s makeup”.  It brought the house down at the live Pen Addict podcasts.  He was referring to how he gets much of the color into his pen blank creations but you can imagine the context of the comment.

Wrap up

I brought home more than I expected to. I will need a better plan for DC or restrict my visit to fly in grab what I can in 15 minutes, hug Brad and leave.  I already look forward to next year and I might even do the weekend trader pass!  If you have a show in your area or have the means to get to one I encourage you to make all efforts to go. If you’re not a big social person that’s ok, you WILL still enjoy the show. If you like chatting with other pen nerds, count on learning something and gaining new friends in this wonderful community.

The links above are for reference only. I tried to link to the product and dealer that I bought from at the show. I would purchase from all of them again but there is no affiliation other than that. Pricing should not be assumed the lowest available.

Remember: Write something nice……

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Zenzoi Bamboo Fountain Pen Review

I love when I hear about a new pen company that is coming on to the scene or has been established and I just learned about them. The pens come with no perceived opinion like “I know what model A is like so I bet model B will be similar and I can expect this or that”. A new brand to me has produced a nice surprise. Zenzoi recently contacted me about trying out one of their fountain pens. My visit to Zenzoi.com had my opinion positioning them as more of a gift company than a pen focused company but I tried not to pre-judge what was coming in the mail.

Mail call was in a few days. I have had an affinity to wood pens lately so I really liked the bamboo wood construction of my review sample. Here is the link to the pen on their site. The bamboo was finished nicely and the wood grain accented the overall look of the pen well. Some wood pens are over finished with shellac and varnish almost giving a slick feel. Zenzoi lets the feel and beauty of the wood come through. The gold trim had some black accents and the section was black plastic. It is an attractive pen. The other design touch I really liked were the rounded ends of the pen made out of the same bamboo wood. Usually this are plastics or metal finials.

  • Material: Bamboo Wood
  • Nib: Two Tone Genius Iridium Germany
  • Length Capped: 5 ¾”
  • Cap Length: 2 5/8”
  • Length Uncapped: 4 7/8”
  • Length Posted: 6 5/8”
  • Cap Diameter: 33/64”
  • Body Diameter: 15/32”
  • Weight: 25.9g
  • Street Price: $40

I would consider the Zenzoi on the small side of sizing. That’s really a personal preference on what one prefers but it had no bearing on the writing performance. With some plastic parts like the section this gives the pen a very light feel and at under 26g it is light. If the length and diameter suit you this could easily be an all-day writer.

Packaging

Zenzoi chose a matching bamboo wood clam shell box for the pen. The box is a great choice for a gift giving experience but other than that it adds nothing to the writing experience. Your opinion may differ as to whether it’s worth whatever amount it adds to the cost of the pen.

Cap

The cap is a snap on style with a definitive click. The clip is a tight stamped style and serves its purpose without fuss or attention needed.

Filling System

The Bamboo came with a converter similar to those I have used in other pens. It doesn’t hold a lot of ink but it does the job, is easy to clean and doesn’t leak.

Nib

The nib is a two tone affair stamped with Genius Iridium Germany. I’ll assume that means made in Germany. Quality out of the box was impressive. The out of the box writing experience was as good as any pen I have purchased. Smoothness and flow were excellent and I had no hard starts at all. I intentionally laid the pen down uncapped for a few minutes and it started right back up with no hesitation. It could easily be a daily workhorse pen.

Conclusion

This pen delivered more than I expected. At $40 you will probably have to really like the uniqueness of the Bamboo and/or the investment Zenzoi has put in the very nice packaging as a gift purchase. The nib wrote very well, it comes with a converter and I’m sure any new fountain pen user would get a positive first experience with the Bamboo as a gift.

Thanks to Zenzoi for sending this one over and when you get time go give them a look at www.zenzoi.com

Remember: Write something nice……

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Are You Going To The Atlanta Pen Show

Atlanta Pen Show Apr 21-23, 2017Is it too early to start planning for the Atlanta Pen Show ? I think not. I keep telling myself I want to make it to DC and Atlanta this year but so far Atlanta is the only sure bet. I’m getting a little better at the whole pen show social aspect after 2 years. That hesitation is totally on me, everyone at the show has always been super nice and friendly.

Atlanta Pen Show

April 21-23, 2017
Wyndham Atlanta Galleria
www.atlantapenshow.com

I have not done a lot of research so far but a growing list of what I want to see has emerged:

Ink

I’ll end up with one of these shimmering, shading, flakes of gold ink at the show. Not sure which one but my interest is up:

  • Diamine Shimmering Red Lustre – I like variations of red and Diamine has always performed well for me as a brand.
  • Robert Oster Fire & Ice – I will be surprised if I find any of this available. I think it’s been very popular
  • A new brown ink – this will be my first attempt at shopping by swatch as I have no brand allegiance or ideas.
  • J Herbin Emerald of Chivor – I know I’m months and months late to the game on this one but if it’s still available it may be this one or the Robert Oster
  • Akermann #28 Green – I have a green I really like but it seems like I hear about this one every week on the Pen Addict podcast so I’m going to give it a try.

Pens

  • Anything in real wood – Since making my first fountain pen out of a pen kit and some old barn wood I just love the feel of the wood in my hand. I also have a Faber Castell Ondoro in real wood and it’s equally soothing in hand. I’m gunning for your table Ryan Krusac.
  • Aurora Optima – I don’t own an Aurora and I’ve heard good things about them. This will definitely be a try before I buy as I have only seen them in print.
  • Sailor Pro Gear – See Akermann #28 above
  • Pilot Namiki Stella 90 – This has been on my list for a long time and honestly I don’t remember why. Maybe if I actually find one and see it in person I will remember why.
  • Kanilea Pen Company – I’m on the fence on this one. Beautiful pieces but it’s on the high side of my price point so it will really have to speak loud to me in person.
  • Scriptorium – I love working with small makers and support them when I can. I have seen some of their work and it’s very nice.
  • Faber-Castell Special Edition Pure Black e-Motion – I love everything I have of Faber-Castell. Plus every one of them have been perfect writers right out of the box. Their styles can be unconventional but their quality always rings my bell.

The links above are for reference only. I have purchased from the dealers referenced and will purchase from them again but there is no affiliation other than that. Pricing should not be assumed the lowest available.

So there I have it, If I get one of each I will come home broke and probably on a bus so the hunting and deciding should be fun.

Would love to hear any recommendations you have for me on the above or what your plans are for The Atlanta Pen Show or other shows this year?

Remember: Write something nice……

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Michael’s Pens FAT BOY Pen Review

A pen is a pretty straightforward design, a long slender tube, a stick if you will. Some are prettier than others with companies being creative by using variations on round, varying the thickness, accoutrements and of course what raw material they use. Sometimes those variations can move a pen closer to a piece of art or depending on your tastes and perspective they could venture into a novelty. Hopefully any execution of art or novelty does not impair the practicality of a pen as a writing instrument. Recently I’ve had the pleasure of spending time with a maker’s pens that jump out a little farther with the design aesthetics than what you typically see on this blog. I’ve had fun with these.

Michael Hochstetler of Michael’s Pens is a creative type when it comes to writing instruments. Since 2003 he has been building quite a design collection of his signature Fat Boy pen right here in the US. Impressive longevity when the industry of small production custom pen manufacturing is still relatively young.

Over the years, he has innovated using the basic design of a robust aircraft billet aluminum pen body, Parker size refills and German Schmidt internals. All quality parts and when you see the pen you will see the name fits, and it’s not just a pretty moniker, they are fat for a reason and I found that trait pleasant for me over my time with three models:

Red Wire High Voltage Tesla Coil

By far my favorite is the black body with 2 strands of red wire tightly wound around the body attached with stainless steel screws. The effect looks like the windings of an electric motor. The black clip is hinged where it attaches to the pen body. This is a numbered special edition model that sells for $219

Red Comet

The Comet starts with the red billet aluminum body then Michael diamond cuts four streaking comets into the barrel. The comets retain the raw aluminum look for a striking contrast. Clip is a stamped steel version that pressure clamps across the top of the pen. The Comet series comes in 4 different colors and sells for $85

Red Chopper

Laser engraved flames set the Chopper Collection collection apart and against the red I think I even feel tougher writing with it. Clip is a stamped steel version that pressure clamps across the top of the pen. The Chopper series comes in 4 different colors and sells for $85.

All of the Fat Boy pens are available in a Pencil with Eraser configuration as well.

The major outlet to find the most versions of Michael’s Fat Boy is at Fountain Pen Hospital where search results on the Fat Boy returns 84 pages! Names like Archangelo, New York, Civil War Cannons, it’s fun to browse through how many unique variations Michael has designed over the years. The Fat Boy could easily be a collector model like some people collect say Lamy Safaris or Kaweco Sports.

Michael also sent over a really cool pen stand made from a ring of ball bearings specifically for the Fat Boy. If you’re considering the Fat Boy for a gift, or your desk pen, this stand would put it over the top. These sell for $45 with 6 variations to choose from Fountain Pen Hospital.

The Pen

Material: Aircraft Grade Billet Aluminum

  • Refills: Parker Style (Comes with a Monteverde Soft Roll P15
  • Length: 5 1/8”
  • Body Diameter: 5/8″
  • Weight: 1.94 oz. (Comet Model)
  • Street Price: From $85

Packaging

Michael does a nice job on the packaging from a shipping protection standpoint and also to support his major retail outlet Fountain Pen Hospital. The shiny black box and protective outer box depicts the quality that resides inside whether being opened up across a sales counter or a customer receiving it as a shipped package.  Michael has also taken the time to design some short documentation on the pen which may not affect the writing but accurately portrays that thought and details were not spared in his design.

Overall Appearance

The Fat Boy is a big fat pen. It’s like a 300 pound linebacker vs a more conventional pen as a 300 pound 7 foot tall NBA center. The proportions are different. Not bad or unattractive, quite the opposite for my tastes. At just over 5” I would not call this a pocket pen but it’s a good length for every day writing. The big rubber treads where you grip the pen also give a big beefy look. At the tip and tail there is a large turn down in the diameter to mate up with the tip cone and the knock. A unique look.

Construction Fit & Finish

The red finish that I tried out were striking with a smooth finish and no machine marks or assembly scratches anywhere. Threads were smooth and it includes an o-ring in the tip to help with squeaks, rattles and keeping the tip tight. The wire wrapping on the Tesla Coil edition is wrapped perfectly. I catch myself starring at it wondering how he did that so precise. A well put together pen with attention to detail obvious in the design and construction

Ergonomics

Did I mention the Fat Boy is a big fat pen?. The aluminum makes it a comfortable weight for me and I happen to like big fat pens. At 5/8″ diameter It fills your hand. You feel the extra hardware on the Tesla Coil edition but there were no harsh edges that really bothered me. The weight differences between it, the Comet and the Chopper didn’t make any difference to me. The knock works splendid like most Schmidts do and the three rubber rings at the gripping section work wonderfully for a grip. I would almost call them tires more than rubber rings.

Clip

All of the clips worked well. The stamped steel wrap around clamped version of the Chopper and Comet has good tension and performs it’s intended role just fine. Here again the Tesla Coil is my favorite with the hinged and tapered clip definitely being a step up. It’s emblazoned with M I C H A E L S and the hinge adds a little bit more mechanical panache to the pen.

Refill

Great choice by Michael on the Parker style refill. He includes a Monteverde branded refill with every pen which is a really good writer but it’s simple to unscrew the writing tip end and slip in your favorite Easy Flow, 9000M or whatever you fancy. On the Tesla Coil edition he throws in an extra refill, nice touch.

Conclusion

A Fat Boy will get noticed in a room full of more ordinary pens. The aesthetic style may not be for everyone but I loved them. The large diameter and the grip was a joy to write with and the build quality was top notch so it’s a winning combination for me.

Thanks again to Michael for sending these over to try out.

You can find Michael’s pens at michaelspens.com and Fountain Pen Hospital.

Remember: Write something nice……

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